Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

We love an opportunity to show off the talents of our exceptional Events and Conference Services team and our beautiful facilities in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning.

A successful event doesn’t have to be high budget, it just has to create a memorable experience for your guests. With recent changes in the economy, companies everywhere are adjusting budgets, including employee activities and events.

Our goal for this event was to create a relaxing and interactive atmosphere where staff can celebrate together… judging from feedback (and our photo booth) it looks like we achieved our goal!

We serve over 55,000 guests annually at special events, meetings, seminars, trade shows, conferences and more. From site plans, to audiovisual requirements, to menu planning, to event directional signage and coat check, our event professionals will be with you every step of the way as your conference comes together

— by Karen McCarthy
— photos by Michael Poon

Socks for a Cause Challenge Warms Up the Holidays

Socks for a CauseAs in years past, Continuing Education and International Education have teamed up to collect new pairs of socks to donate to Inn from the Cold, an emergency family shelter in Calgary. The project is coordinated by the Green Team.

This year, Dean Charles Webber of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension challenged Dean Valerie Kinnear of the Bissett School of Business to collect more socks than Continuing Education/International.

We hate to brag, but check this week’s Face Time story to see the results 😉

— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Krystal Hurt

HR Instructor Brings Real-World Experience to the Classroom

Mary-JoMary-Jo Williams is an independent leadership and organizational development consultant as well as a trainer and coach. When she’s not busy with her clients, she teaches in our Human Resource Management and Management Development programs. She is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP).

We chatted with her recently about the changes she’s seen in the field of human resources over the past few years.

Q: What changes in the field of human resource management have you seen during the time you have been teaching in our program?

A: When I first began teaching at MRU, we were in the midst of a big transition from HR being “personnel” to becoming more strategic in nature. I’ve seen that continue to evolve over the past six years. The human resources function is an integral part of organizational strategy. People who are coming into the course are looking at HR as being a business partner rather than just a service-oriented function that’s reactive.

Q: How can students best prepare to enter the field of HR?

A: First of all, you need to be a people person. And you also have to have the desire to build and grow a culture in business. People who are most successful are those who are passionate about helping the business grow and helping the people part of the business.

Q: What questions do your students ask most frequently?

A: They really want to know what it’s like to be in the real world — making that connection between what they’ve been hearing, what they’ve been seeing, or reading about in textbooks, with what’s it’s actually like to be in various roles in HR in the real world.

Q: What is your teaching style?

A: My style is very facilitative. It’s important to me that my classes are highly participative. I feel it’s my job to engage, enable and empower the students to get the most out of the learning experience as possible.

Q: What feedback do you get from students?

A: They really appreciate that there’s so much of a real-world connection. They like to see the practical application of the learning points that we go through. It’s not just learning the “what”, it’s learning “how”.

Q: Why is MRU a good place to study?

A: I actually took the MRU HR Certificate myself a few years ago. The culture of the university as a whole is what makes it great. It’s professional yet friendly and supportive — a nice balance of learning and learning together.

— photo by Krystal Hurt


Leadership Development Grad Works Hard and Plays Hard

Jeff JonesJeffrey Jones, a Leadership Development graduate, is our featured student for December. In fact, Jeffrey has been featured in several Continuing Education ads this fall as well as on the masthead of this blog. We are pleased to share his inspiring story.

Jeff completed the Leadership Development Extension Certificate in 2012. He had just been moved up to a supervisory role in the Calgary office of Tetra Tech, an engineering, consulting and technical services company serving the oil and gas industry. Jeff is a procurement specialist and project expeditor.

His boss encouraged Jeff to “polish up his skills” as he transitioned into a leadership role with his former colleagues, moving from friend to supervisor.

“I liked learning about the cultural part of leadership, interacting in the workplace,” Jeff says. “You can show leadership from any position and get noticed.”

Jeff was recommended as a featured graduate by instructor Joanne Leskow. “He really came into his own during the program,” she says. “At first he didn’t say much but soon he was participating and coming up with unique contributions to our discussions. My classes are very experiential. We take real-world situations that we can all learn from and Jeff provided some great input.”

Jeff liked that the classes took place on a Friday and Saturday, which he felt was a fair trade-off between his work time and his personal time. “I could apply on Monday what I learned on Friday and Saturday,” he says. “That really helped to integrate my learning. I learned from others in the class as well and the role playing exercises were great.”

“Joanne was a fantastic instructor,” he says. “She actually cares about her students and still stays in touch to see how I’m doing.”

Jeff is working toward becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP®), taking online courses from UBC and preparing to write the exam. His work experience has been accepted as prior learning by the Project Management Institute.

He likes to work hard and also play hard, especially as a rugby player. His fundraising efforts to support his team have found him doing things like jumping in the Bow River, wearing a bunny suit and dying his hair red (see the photo above – although he did put off shaving it into “weird” patterns until after his photo shoot with us.) For each stunt Jeff earned $250 from his friends and colleagues towards travelling to Argentina for a rugby tournament.

No matter what he puts his mind to, Jeff Jones gives it his all. We are proud to have him as a featured graduate.

Find out more about Jeff in this video.

— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Michael Poon

Conflict Resolution Skills Life-Changing for Mediator

IMG_3955_md_300pxFlorence Lye earned her Conflict Resolution Extension Certificate at Mount Royal in 1997 and has been working in the field ever since.

Florence came to Canada from Malaysia with her husband in 1979. She was a stay-at-home mother with four children when she decided to take the Conflict Resolution program in the late 1990s. She was going through a divorce at the time.

When she worked through a mediator as part of the divorce process she did not find it as helpful as she would have liked, even though she was told the mediator was one of the best.

“I can do better,” she thought, and began to seek training in the field. Flipping through the Continuing Education calendar she found the Conflict Resolution program.

“The MRU Conflict Resolution program changed my life. I realized the importance of having conflict management skills while I was going through the divorce. The program gave me hope and a new lease on life,” Florence says.

Since graduating, Florence has worked in the field of mediation in the justice system. As a Chartered Mediator, Florence works for the Alberta Justice Civil Mediation Program as well as serving as a Family Mediator for Alberta Family Justice Services. During that time she has witnessed over 2,000 mediations.

She is also a Certified Life Coach and member of the International Coach Federation (ICF). She has her own consulting company, Arrow Mediations Inc. Florence also volunteers in junior and senior high schools, teaching peer mediation skills to students.

“My favourite part of the mediation process is to see the shift in people’s attitudes that allows them to come to an agreement,” she says. “They have empathy for the other person.”

“MRU has great instructors who have hands-on experience and passion in this field,” she says. “The Conflict Resolution program provided me with the skills and ability to work within the field of mediation. The curriculum is very hands-on and there are many opportunities to practice skills in class as well as in real life. I could apply what I learned right away.”

Florence is now an instructor with the Conflict Resolution Extension Certificate herself. She coaches new students as they go through the program and helps them prepare for assessments. “Going through this program as a student, a coach and now as a part-time instructor, I know that without these important life skills I would not be where I am today. I began my life journey towards being a successful mediator by taking that first step at MRU,” Florence says.

— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Krystal Hurt